Ryan, Bowles draw interest

Updated: January 2, 2009, 2:25 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Miami Dolphins assistant Todd Bowles are coaching in the same playoff game on Sunday -- and possibly interviewing for the same head-coaching jobs at some point afterward.

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On Thursday, Ryan acknowledged that at least two teams -- the Detroit Lions and the St. Louis Rams -- are expressing preliminary interest in him.

According to multiple media reports, Bowles will interview with the Lions next week. And ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen reported that the Rams plan to formally request permission to interview Bowles, as well as Dallas Cowboys receivers coach Ray Sherman.

Ryan is preparing the NFL's No. 2 defense for Sunday's wild-card game against the Dolphins, but he's getting a lot of attention around the league for head-coaching vacancies. He also has been reportedly linked to openings with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns the past several weeks.

"It's good, but I don't pay a lot of attention right now to head-coaching jobs," Ryan said. "We're focused on winning but I feel confident and hopeful that I can get one of these jobs. If I don't fit [as head coach with a new team], then I'm ready to accept that. I've been called a players' coach before and I think that's a heck of a compliment. We respect each other here."

Ryan has been the guru behind Baltimore's tenacious defense, which has finished sixth or better the past six seasons. Despite Baltimore hiring a new head coach in John Harbaugh this season, one of the first things the Ravens did was retain Ryan as defensive coordinator.

Ryan interviewed last year for openings with the Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons. Those jobs went to Mike Smith and Tony Sparano, respectively, but Ryan believes his experience with the process will help him this following offseason.

Harbaugh also has been one of Ryan's biggest supporters.

"It's great because we've known each other for 15 years or so,'' Ryan said of Harbaugh. "He knows I respect him and vice versa ... But I'm happy either way here. We have a tremendous staff and I'm coaching a bunch of great guys."

The NFL Network first reported that Bowles, who coaches the Dolphins' secondary and previously coached the defensive backs with the Cowboys and Browns, will talk to the Lions next week about taking over in Detroit. The Lions fired Rod Marinelli on Monday after suffering through a 0-16 season.

Bowles and Lions general manager Martin Mayhew were former teammates on the Washington Redskins.

The Miami Herald reported Thursday on its Web site that the Dolphins declined comment on the report.

According to media reports, the Lions also intend to interview New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo; Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz; Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier; and Redskins secondary coach Jerry Gray.

Mortensen reported the Rams also are interested in Frazier, as well as Ryan; Jim Haslett, who served as the Rams' interim coach this season; and former Giants coach Jim Fassel. The Rams already have an interview scheduled on Saturday with Green Bay Packers linebackers coach Winston Moss

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com. ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen contributed to this report.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter